June 9: Springbok are Like Canada at Christmas

There were Eland everywhere tonight! I feel like such a lucky bunny. We had four separate groups tonight and about 50 Eland in total.  I even took a photo because I don’t know when i’ll get the chance again.  Eland are intense. Even weighing about 800kgs, they can clear a 3 meter fence from a standstill. They obviously didn’t remember that they have that ability last night when several collided with the camp’s perimeter fence.

Photobucket

They were far away. But they were Eland.

Our big excitement for the evening came when we rounded a corner and found a huge female lion in the road and headed in our direction. When I pulled over to give her more space, she changed course and came for us instead. When she reached our bumper, she suddenly skipped off to the left and then passed nearly touching the vehicle- just inches from me. Adrenaline rush!  Even if i’m doing this job for the next twenty years, that feeling isn’t going to change. It’s indescribable to be outside and so close to lions. I needed tonight’s experience. Love.

Then it got even better! We followed her in reverse for a while before she stopped and took note of two Gemsbok nearby. The next hour and a half was spent watching her in total darkness as she decided on her next move. The lion was definitely interested in the Gemsbok and she kept us totally captivated, but in the end she continued on her way and so did we.

I had a flashback to my childhood tonight. When you shine a light on a huge herd of Springbok at night, they look like a suburban Canadian street at Christmas time. And tonight felt like a Canadian Christmas. The temperature dropped below freezing when the sun set. Love cold Kalahari.

Sightings:

Lion
Eland
Gemsbok
Wildebeest
Springbok
Ostrich
Springhare
Jackal
Spotted Eagle Owl
Bateleur
Black Headed Heron
Kori Bustard
Tawny Eagle

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